So Luke Donald knows he's not going to be on the European Ryder Cup team because the 26-year-old from England isn't going to play the 11 European PGA Tour events required to be eligible.
If that turns out to be a problem for Bernhard Langer, the European team's captain, U.S. captain Hal Sutton says he feels bad -- sort of.
"My concern is the American team," Sutton said. "Well, yeah, I guess I feel bad. I mean, how does anybody decide what's their best players?
"I don't know how we're going to decide who the best team is. All I do know is that [when] the 12 players from each side that show up, we will decide who the best team of those 24 guys are."
Donald, who was 7-1 in match play in two Walker Cup victories as an amateur, began playing the PGA Tour full-time in 2002 and won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. He had two top 10s last year and lost to John Daly in a playoff at Torrey Pines in February.
The 11-tournament rule has become controversial. Donald joins Swedes Jesper Parnevik, Mathias Gronberg and Carl Petterson in saying they won't meet the requirement. All four are PGA Tour members. Donald lives in Chicago, Parnevik lives in Jupiter, Fla., and Petterson in Raleigh, N.C. Gronberg, who has homes in Monaco and New Jersey, earned his 2004 PGA Tour card when he was the medalist at qualifying school.
Lee Westwood has said Donald and the others should not be punished for playing the PGA Tour.
Said Westwood: "The last time I checked, the Ryder Cup was between Europeans and Americans, not the European Tour and the U.S. PGA Tour."
Harmon Stays Busy
Tiger Woods has erased him from his speed dial, but former coach Butch Harmon has been far from idle lately. Besides his Sky television work and his swing school at Rio Secco Golf Club in Las Vegas, Harmon has signed a deal to be represented by Hambric Sports Management.
Hambric's mission is to look at international opportunities to build the "Butch" brand and also to handle his marketing and negotiation for endorsements, personal appearances and other media.
Everyone waiting for Lorena Ochoa to break through with her first victory -- and there were plenty who thought the 22-year-old second-year LPGA pro from Guadalajara, Mexico, was on the verge -- saw what they were waiting for Sunday from the part-time mountain climber.
Ochoa, who scales peaks as a hobby, shot a 68 to defeat Wendy Ward by one shot in Franklin, Tenn., only hours after she learned older brother, Alejandro, had reached the summit at Mount Everest.
Chances are good Ochoa will do a lot more climbing on the LPGA Tour. The former Arizona all-American, who was an eight-time national champion in Mexico, is making an impression in her sophomore year as a pro.
Not only is she third on the money list behind Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, she has six top 10s in seven tournaments, she's second to Sorenstam with 20 of 27 rounds under par, leads in greens in regulation and birdies, and her 69.93 scoring average is third behind Sorenstam and Park.
Mickelson Up to Fifth
Even though he missed his first cut of the year last week, Phil Mickelson has made a big move over the first third of the season, and he's playing this week at the Colonial.
Ranked 13th in January, Mickelson is now a healthy fifth and has 10 top 10s in 12 times out, including victories at the Masters and the Hope. He is second to Vijay Singh on the money list.
Third in driving distance in 2003, Mickelson is 20th this year, but he is 71st in fairways hit compared with 189th a year ago. He's also first in birdie average. Woods, meantime, is sixth in driving distance (he was 11th in 2003) but only 159th in fairways hit. Woods is second to Mickelson in birdie average. . . .
Nick Price is skipping the Colonial this week, but he says it has nothing to do with some year-old fallout from Sorenstam's entry that made Price edgy about having to answer questions about her instead of how he felt defending his title.
Price, a two-time Colonial winner with a lifetime exemption, entered the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, which he said he decided on in August before the PGA Tour schedule was released. Woods isn't playing either the Deutsche Bank or the Colonial and isn't expected to be back until the Memorial the first week of June. . . .
With Woods in the hunt until late and Sergio Garcia on his way to winning in a three-way playoff, overnight ratings for the Byron Nelson on CBS were up 47 percent from a year ago. Woods didn't play last year. Going 30 extra minutes because of the playoff, to 6:30 p.m. EDT, didn't hurt ratings either. . . .
In case anyone is having an Augusta National letdown, here's an update. The Georgia and South Carolina women's teams played there last week.
The club, which opened for the season last October, closes at the end of the month.